During my years as an Elementary Music Specialist I discovered that children really like to sing songs that add content to each verse. Of course at Christmas they especially liked to sing the 12 Days of Christmas. (This is my favorite recording of this Carol. Enjoy by clicking on the link.) Little did the students realize the meaning of those 12 objects is rooted in Christian History.
Catholicism was outlawed in England from 1558 to 1829. During this period of time those who wanted to learn of their faith gave meaning to each object in the song by attaching it to a Christian precept. Whether there is truth to this story or not it does present a unique way to attach a secular song to basic Christianity.
- Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments
- Three French Hens – The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
- Four Calling/Collie Birds – Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
- Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament
- Six Geese-a-Laying – Six days of creation before God’s rest on the seventh day
- Seven Swans-a-Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Eight Maids-a-Milking – Eight Beatitudes
- Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
- Ten Lords-a-Leaping – Ten Commandments
- Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
- Twelve Drummers Drumming –Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed (source BBC.com)
I am including the words to the Apostles’ Creed because they so resonate in my heart, having been raised in the Lutheran Church and Tradition. (When I married Ray, a member of the Church of Christ, my grandmother nearly disowned me. That all disappeared when she got to know him, his belief in Jesus Christ, and his desire to create a Christian marriage and home. By the way we are now members of ‘the holy Christian Church’ fellowshipping in the Body of Christ as Southern Baptist’s )
As you read through these words make them a prayer of thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done.
- maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
- who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
- and born of the virgin Mary,
- suffered under Pontius Pilate,
- was crucified, died and was buried.
- He descended into hell.
- On the third day He rose again from the dead.
- He ascended into heaven
- and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
- From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
- the holy Christian church,
- the communion of saints,
- the forgiveness of sins,
- the resurrection of the body,
- and the life everlasting. Amen.
- This creed was written using selected verses and concepts from the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Holy Bible.